On my Facebook memories today, there was a post from 2013 that I wrote while I was a single woman and mother to an outstanding, beautiful little girl. It was self-preaching, without a doubt. You’ll read that I was finishing out a year that I’d vowed to not allow the thought of dating into my mental space. I tabled the conversation so the Lord could heal the places in me that just wanted a man to come along and be a good companion so badly.
I wanted to get to a place where I was okay if I never married.
I wanted to understand the promises of God in a way that I could testify to the hope they bring.
I wanted to be able to teach my daughter through my own life what it is to delight yourself in the Lord. I wanted her to see me pursuing the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and that “all else being added to me” didn’t have to look like what my small imagination might choose to ask for.
I’d been discouraged, and after the simple act of laying down the idol of marriage, I was able to pick up a Reality that remains part of the fabric of His robe that I hold closest to my heart.
Dear single woman:
Take heart. The One who loved you first, and loves you best, is waiting to show you what He thinks of you. Take time to delight yourself in Him and learn His heart for you. Allow the Truth to resonate in your heart, soul, body and mind that you are valued beyond earthly measure, cherished with highest sentiment, pursued with passion, wildly wanted, esteemed with joy, thought about, admired – and trust me – it’s no secret, rejoiced over, desired in conversation, craved in the sweetest soul-to-soul intimacy, sustained in grace, forgiven in full, intentionally observed, prayed for, and relentlessly and faithfully loved.
Jesus doesn’t love you in secret. He is not fickle about you.
Society, and the enemy (if the two can be separated), would love to see women, single and married, live in this cyclic relational lifestyle of manipulating and using our own devices to try, in vain, to draw out the kind of love that cannot be forced, coerced or even produced through one’s will. We were made for a fulfilling mutual relationship that is metaphysically intimate, with the Love that holds all power in safety, beyond the fibers of our being. He already put His whole life and body into making it work. Read this the right way, but I’m fully convinced Jesus saved women from “the curse of Eve”, the longing for our husband, with the sweetness of restoration in relationship with Himself. He is not a place holder or a substitute, but the King you’ve been over-actively searching and pining for. Take a breath. Rest in this.
When I speak on my own singleness, I’m pretty sure people think my next move will be packing my bags for the nunnery. But this is real life stuff. And that could and would never happen. (Although, I just mentally saw a scene from Sister Act with me singing with Whoopie and liked it.) I just closed a chapter of a full year of intentional singleness and what the Lord revealed in my own heart was appalling, grievous, and relatively typical.
God did not create us to long for men in a way that satisfies us, nor did he create us to manipulate and satisfy men. Set your batting eyes and let Love calm that sway in your hips, sister. Those are your brothers-in-Christ, your future brothers-in-Christ, or statistically, other peoples’ future husbands. If we are called to marriage, we were created to be one with our spouses in Him, in holiness and righteousness and under his anointing and authority (1 Corinthians 11:8-12).
Men are good. We were made to coexist with men in healthy relationships, with one set apart for the distinct honor of marriage. Don’t make the mistake of playing house with a man who is not your husband. Pray hard. Wait steady. Live in the fullness of God always. Do some vetting so that you can trust the integrity of the man who you’ll settle your bones next to. King Solomon wrote, “do not awaken love before it so desires.” In other words: don’t let your mind fool your heart that something is what it was never meant to be.
Even in marriage, “your man”, my man, whoever he is - isn’t the answer. Not in your parenting, finances, desires, temptations, struggles, longing. Jesus is the answer. He always has to be the answer, or you will always face disappointment. Submit yourself to Him. He's trustworthy. And crazy about you. In Christ, you don’t belong to yourself. You’ve been bought with a price and placed in a Family where you are ultimately protected as sacred.
Sister, take a deep breath – and maybe take a break. Seriously. Enjoy singlehood. Surround yourself with healthy people. Live in the restoring promises that bring things to earth as they are in heaven. Don’t miss the relationship that will satisfy you, where you are shamelessly seen, known in full, and loved like crazy.
What do you love to do? Learn what you were made to do. I don’t say this in a feminist way, or against men, but sister, learn to live in the freedom you have in Christ, start working in the way you’re wired to work, and love the way you were designed to love and be loved.
Four years later, and I’m married now. I cannot tell you how critical it is to know that my husband is not my savior. He is not “my everything”, nor is he my heartbeat. All those things sound cute in Hallmark cards and memes, but they’re codependent and broken. My husband is my companion, but God knows me better than Anthony ever will. My husband is my best friend on earth, but he is not the best friend I have. Let me tell you something: I’m crazy about my man, and I’m sure I’m a more emotionally balanced wife because God walked me through this process. In my adult life, there have not been sweeter days than the ones I spent in my singleness, allowing the Lord to be my Everything. My expectations are safe with Jesus, because he always exceeds them.
I have faced fracturing disappointments and gut-wrenching pain in my life, but I have found that as I bring the remnants and after-effects to the God who made me, He has the power and tendency to repurpose and make all things new.
Sister, my heart is so with you and I pray that if you’re experiencing a lifestyle of loneliness today, you’d be met on your road of disappointment with the Truth that you are seen, you are ADORED, and that God is fully prepared to meet you where you are. There are not too many tears for Him to capture; He sheds them with you and for you. You are not “too far gone” for Him to reach you.